Dementia can be devastating. It affects everyone differently, and you’ll need an understanding of how its going to affect your parents if you want to make sure they get the care and treatment they need. They took care of you when you needed them the most, and now it’s your turn to return the favor.
If you want your parent with dementia to be able to make the most of his or her life, you’ll need to do some research and make some changes.
1. Simplify Their Living Arrangements
Adjustments and changes are hard for people living with dementia. If you’d like to downsize their home or move them into a disability accessible apartment, you’ll be better off doing it as soon as possible. As the dementia progresses, the changes will only be harder. Your parent may not understand why they’re moving, and may not understand their new environment when they wake up. If you want to keep them in the same house, make sure it’s as safe as possible.
2. Help Them With Their Finances
People with dementia have difficulty managing money. They may forget what bills they’re responsible for and how much is going to be due. They may make impulsive purchases that don’t fit into their budgets, or they may fail to make necessary purchases, like groceries. Keep a close eye on the bank accounts.
If you can, set up automatic payment for the bills that will come up every month, like the utilities or health insurance. Grocery shop for your parent when you grocery shop for yourself.
3. Understand Their Care Requirements
You might want to get a caregiver to visit your parent with dementia. If you have the time and resources, it might be worthwhile to become an enrolled nurse. Your parent with dementia might forget you over time, but their memory of you will be stronger than their memory of a caregiver that was a stranger until a short time ago. You’ll be able to provide adequate care for the parent if you live together.
4. Help Them Keep Track of Their Appointments
Dementia requires a lot of medical care. Your parent will need to regularly see specialists to assess the progression of their condition and intervene when necessary. Make sure they get back and forth to their appointments safely, that the appropriate follow up appointments are scheduled, and that your parent is taking all of the necessary medications prescribed to them.
You’ll also need to keep a close eye on the quality of their care. If you suspect medical neglect, you need to intervene immediately. Your parent with dementia may not realize that their doctor is mistreating them.
5. Have a Backup Plan
If you can’t handle all of the care on your own and home care services aren’t enough, you may want to consider finding a nursing home that’s equipped to deal with your parent’s special needs. Your parent may be resistant to the idea, but it could be the best thing for them. As long as you stay in regular correspondence with the nursing home and visit as often as possible, you’re doing the right thing. Don’t be so stubborn that you wind up standing in between your parent with dementia and their need for constant care.
Though things may be hard, remember to be as loving and supporting as possible. Your parent will have good days and bad days. At times, your parent may even forget who you are. Don’t take it personally. Love them the best that you can.
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